Let me be brave in the attempt

My friend Jill knows a little something about being an athlete.

In 2011, the Purdue University and Xavier High School basketball star earned an induction into the Wisconsin Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jill also knows a little something about love. She married her high school sweetheart and gleefully devotes herself to the two children they share.

That talent and heart come in handy each year when she coaches the Eagles, one of the largest and most enthusiastic Special Olympics teams in Northeastern Wisconsin.

Clipboard in hand, Jill makes her way around the track high-fiving, fist-bumping, encouraging, organizing, feeding, consoling, and hugging her athletes.

They respond the way she expects them to, competing hard, celebrating with grace and rising when they fall.

Last Saturday I watched Jacob Young compete in the 100-yard dash. Midway through, he stumbled, took a hard fall, lay there for a moment, and then, because Eagles never give up, he got up and finished the race.

Jill met him at the finish line and stayed with him while he received medical attention.

Later, with patches on his knee, elbow and shoulder, and his coach’s arm around him, he limped off to compete in his next event.

If you want to feel inspired, treat yourself to the Special Olympics. Watch the athletes smile as they compete, fight through challenges, and support each other on the starting blocks and at the finish line.

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

That’s the motto of Special Olympics and that’s the lesson we all can learn from a really cool group of athletes and coaches.

Feet off the ground
I love that this young athlete’s feet aren’t even touching the ground. That seems about right for this uplifting event.
Any age
All ages are welcome to compete.
Happy runner
Most of these athletes smile as they compete. You can’t help but smile right along with them.
Smile sprint
She made you smile, right there, didn’t she?
There’s a whole lot of glee at the finish line…
Teammate race
…and real competition on the track.
Hug it out
There’s a whole lot of hugging too.
Coach Jill
And Coach Jill is everywhere.
The fall
I think the best example of being brave in the attempt happened during the 100-meter dash when Jacob fell hard,
Crossing the finish line
but got up and finished the race anyway.
Coach helping
Coach Jill helped him off the track.
Wounded Warrior
After getting some medical attention, he jumped in to his next event. Notice the visible patches.
Coangratulations from the coach
Coach Jill was there to congratulate him after his successful long jump attempts.
Happy landing
If you want to meet an inspirational athlete, introduce yourself to this guy.
Finish Line
And, if you want to have some fun, check out a Special Olympics event. This is a medal ceremony. These are competitors. Note, though, that they’re all smiling, two of them are hugging and one of them is blowing a kiss. That, my friends, is how you play the game. I just love this picture.

3 thoughts on “Let me be brave in the attempt

  1. Love this! I’ve always been a big fan of Special Olympics. Great pics and story.

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